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Archive for the ‘Andrew Robertson’ Category

Alumna Dr. Liskin Swint-Kruse named Interim Chair of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at KUMC

Monday, June 18th, 2018

Biochemistry Alumna, (1995 PhD with Dr. Andrew Robertson), has been named  the Interim Chair of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC). Dr. Swint-Kruse was recruited to the University of Kansas School of Medicine in 2004 after completing postdoctoral fellowships at Rice University and the University of Houston.  Since arriving at KUMC, she has developed a successful and well-funded research program that focuses on ways to improve genomics-based diagnoses for personalized medicine.   These studies of protein structure-function also have applications in protein engineering for biotechnology and in transcriptional control of metabolism in pathogenic bacteria. On a national level, Dr. Swint-Kruse has been very active in committees of the Biophysical Society and is also Secretary of the Gibbs Society of Biological Thermodynamics.

2014 Biochemistry Newsletter now available

Friday, October 31st, 2014

The 2014 Biochemistry@Iowa newsletter is hot off the presses and available for download. Alumni and friends should receive a hard copy in the mail this week. If you would like to be added to our mailing list, please send your contact information to biochem@uiowa.edu. While you are at it, feel free to send us your news and updates! Previous newsletters are also available online.

Dr. Brenner’s Tribute to Dr. Andy Robertson

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Robertson Desk 1The death of our colleague Andy Robertson two weeks ago was unexpected. His death is a reminder of just how important our friendships are. I met Andy in 1989, twenty-five years ago, when I was in graduate school and he was a postdoc at Stanford. He had just come from the University of Wisconsin where he did his PhD with John Markley. The reason Andy meant so much to me is that I spent five to seven days a week with him for a couple of years, seeing and talking with him nearly every day. That was a formative time in my life. Two years later, when he moved to our department as an assistant professor, he spent five to seven days a week seeing five of our colleagues who were then new assistant professors. He was very close with Dan Weeks, Madeline Shea, David Price, Pamela Geyer, Marc Wold—the heart and soul of our department—not to mention many others.

It turns out that, whether we are graduate students, technicians, post-docs, faculty members, or retirees, we’re all in formative periods of our lives and we always need friends.

In science, Andy really cared. He loved the turkey ovomucoid third domain. He loved every ionizable group in the turkey ovomucoid third domain from its amino terminus to its carboxy terminal group and every ionizable group in between. He really cared about that molecule. At Stanford, Andy spent two years working on ribonuclease, which was one of Buzz Baldwin’s favorite molecules, but he returned to turkey ovomucoid third domain when he was on the faculty at Iowa.

Beyond caring about every ionizable group, Andy truly cared about people. He was a very warm and graceful person. What is grace? Grace is the ability to adapt, to turn, to change, and to adjust to one’s surroundings. One of the ways to think about grace in terms of dealing with problems: picture Jacqueline Kennedy when her husband, our president, was shot in 1964. The type of grace she exhibited to hold her family together inspired people that life would go on and that we’ve got to make the best of a very difficult situation. If you look at graceful athletes—and, as a person who surfed and skied, Andy was a graceful athlete—they are constantly changing. At the top of a mountain, skiers imagine a line that they are going to take but, to get to the bottom, they shift their weight and turn on the basis of the wind, other skiers, and conditions encountered going down the mountain. You will not only encounter moguls and changing snow conditions, but actual ice patches. And, friends, there will be ice patches.

We’re mourning the loss of Andy Robertson, because we know that in life he would be available to us at any time. Andy was the kind of person who kept both eyes on you when he talked to you. When I had the opportunity to consider taking a position here, Andy was the first person I consulted about what I would find at the University of Iowa. Even though it was a telephone conversation, I knew that Andy was one hundred percent present with me in that conversation. We are mourning Andy because, not only do we no longer have him to listen to us, but he doesn’t have us to listen to him.

In closing, I emphasize that we need to know our friends, treasure our friends, and rely on our friends. Work hard, but please always talk with each other. We don’t know how long any of us will be here, we don’t know how long our friendships or our lives will last, and we don’t know what another person might be going through at any given time unless we are present, like Andy was.

Andy Robertson was a tremendously valued member of this department and of this world. No one can take his place. And guess what? No one can take anybody else’s place, either. Everyone has a role and everyone has an important contribution to make, not just in science and in the department, but in the world. Your role is a unique one that no one else can fill.

Let’s remember Andy’s life with as much grace as we can muster. Let’s try to shift speeds, shift our weight from one ski to the other without ever giving up our principles or our goals. Please talk with each other, check in with each other because life can be too short.

Thank you, Andy, for being a part of our lives.

Dr. Charles Brenner

Andy Robertson named Chief Scientific and Medical Officer at the National Psoriasis Foundation

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Andy Robertson, a former UI Biochemistry faculty member, is the new Chief Scientific and Medical Officer at the National Psoriasis Foundation. He will run their research grants program, a medical education program, and will be out and about raising awareness about research needs and opportunities in the area of psoriatic diseases. Dr. Robertson says, “the attractions of the position include the mission, the opportunity to stay abreast of a lot of interesting research and medicine, and the chance to interact extensively with and, hopefully, to help those who have psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis.” He will be based in Portland, OR and Iowa City.

Susan O’Donnell wins the Clarence Berg Award

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Susan O’Donnell, who recently completed her PhD with Madeline Shea, has been named the winner of the 2010 Clarence Berg Award. This prize is given every other year to a student who demonstrates “scholarship, integrity, cooperativeness, consideration and a willingness to help others.” Dr. O’Donnell was an American Heart Association-funded graduate student who focused on the structural and thermodynamic bases for recognition of calcineurin by calmodulin domains. Previously, Susan was the winner of the 2006 Usha Balakrishnan Award for best poster presented at the annual meeting of the Center for Biocatalysis and Bioprocessing. She also presented her work in a plenary session of the 2007 Gibbs Conference on Biothermodynamics and received a 2008 Biophysical Society Student Research Achievement Award as well as an inaugural Gehring Award last fall.

Dr. O’Donnell is currently a post-doctoral fellow with Robert Deschenes at University of South Florida.

Susan is the 21st winner of the Berg Award, which was established by former students of Professor Berg, an internationally known amino acid biochemist who was a member of the department for 39 years. Dr. Berg is well known as the author of the 1980 book, The University of Iowa and Biochemistry from their Beginnings.

Prior winners of the Berg Award are:

Sedore wins 2009 Subramanian Best Doctoral Dissertation Award

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

Congratulations to Stanley Sedore, winner of the 2009 Best Doctoral Dissertation Award, sponsored by Alap Subramanian. Dr. Sedore’s thesis entitled, “Gene-specific control of P-TEFb by HIV,” was performed under the supervision of David Price. He is now finishing medical school at the Carver College of Medicine as an MD/PhD student. (more…)